Film Censorship in China X Hollywood

By YingTing Tseng (YXT5059)

When we mention about the love and hate between Chinese film censorship and Hollywood movies, one current example is the Amercian movie, ‘Djiango Unchained’.


On April 11, 2013, The New York Times reports, “The American film “Django Unchained” was abruptly pulled from theaters in China on Thursday, its opening day, a surprising move that underscored the fragility of Hollywood’s evolving relationship with the Chinese movie industry.  No reason was given for the decision to suspend “Django Unchained,” which was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and won two Oscars in February. The move comes after some scenes were reported to have been edited to conform with the wishes of Chinese censors”. (At 11th Hour, China’s Censors Bar ‘Django Unchained’, Mullany and Cieply)

ImageLOVE “Growth in viewership of movies has slowed in the United States, but in China, with 1.3 billion people and more people emerging into its middle class all the time, movie viewership is skyrocketing.  The censoring of content is simply ‘good business’ as far as the studios are concerned.”  (Hollywood Embraces Censorship in China While Opposing it at Home)

HATE  First of all, as two journalists states that China does not have a movie rating system, in other words, “It relies instead on the brute force of censorship: movies and television shows either have scenes excised or are banned entirely.”  So this fact here is one technical side in China.  Secondly, in order to access to China’s film market, both the studios and moviemakers have to follow the rules in order to pass the censorship.  One New York Times news article, To Get Movies Into China, Hollywood Gives Censors a Preview, discloses the strategy of Hollywood, “For Americans, dealings with the Chinese censors are mostly a distant and second hand business. Films are normally submitted by their Chinese partners, while various consultants in China to handle the bureaucratic communications that lead to approval or rejection”.

To conclude, although the Chinese film market is a great business opportunity for Hollywood, its governmental censorship never changed, and do remember what Lu Chuan, a Chinese director said, “In an American movie, you can blow up the White House.  We cannot blow up (Tiananmen) Square.”



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